Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Mapping the Natural World

We all rely on nature for our food & water and even for the air that we breathe. These are only some of the most visible benefits that nature provides. The UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (IPBES) believe that we all need to better understand the full value of nature in order to ensure that we take every step to protect it for sustainable use.

Stanford University's Natural Capital Project explores some of the contributions which nature makes to people around the world. You can explore some of these contributions on the Nature's Contributions to People Viewer. This 3d globe allows users to see where we are receiving benefits from nature around the world. It also allows us to see where people are likely to lose these vital benefits from nature as ecosystems are negatively impacted by human development projects.

The globe concentrates on three key areas: pollination, water quality and coastal risk. You can select to view any of these key areas from the map menu to view how the area could be affected under different future scenarios. These scenarios show how the flow of these benefits might change in the future around the world. By 2050 around 5 billion people across the globe could be at higher risk of under-pollinated crops, water pollution and coastal storms. The Nature's Contributions to People Viewer allows us to see where these risks might be the greatest in each of these three key areas.

The IPBES's studies into biodiversity and ecosystems reveal that people in developing countries rely more heavily on the benefits of local ecosystems. Going forward these people are most at risk from the detrimental impacts on local ecosystems. The Nature's Contributions to People Viewer can help to identify where these ecosystems are most at risk and help to inform policy makers where sustainable development and conservation is most at need to protect biodiversity and local ecosystems.

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